Chris Botti in Boston

Trumpeter Chris Botti, a gifted instrumentalist and a charismatic performer in the realm of contemporary jazz, has simultaneously captured the attention of the pop music world. The incredible group of Botti’s featured guest artists, along with his world-class band, includes Sting, Lucia Micarelli, John Mayer, Josh Groban, Katharine McPhee, Yo-Yo Ma, Steven Tyler and Sy Smith, with Keith Lockhart conducting the Boston Pops.

A very comprehensive review of this phenomenal concert by Val Vaccaro is published at Smooth Jazz Vibes. The concert was taped on CD, DVD and Blu-Ray. Botti comments this event: “the artists that performed in Boston are my friends. They’re not just people that I called up because they’re big stars. I’ve known them socially and I think that shows on the DVD and how everyone’s just kind of loose and we’re all having fun.”


Hot Club of Detroit – It’s About That Time

The family tree that traces its roots to the Quintette du Hot Club de France has sprouted countless branches across the globe in the seventy years since Django Reinhardt first jammed with Stephane Grappelli. It seems like a new city lays claim to its own Hot Club on a virtually daily basis, but the Hot Club of Detroit is undoubtedly the apple that has fallen farthest from that tree.

The blistering fretwork on the opening track of the group’s third CD, It’s About That Time, pays explicit homage to one of their six-string heroes – just not the one you might think. “On the Steps” is based on the chord changes of Pat Martino’s “On the Stairs” (with a brief borrowing from John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” to complete the pun), and states at the outset what fans of these gypsy jazz revisionists have long known – that Django Reinhardt is far from the beginning and end of the Hot Club of Detroit’s vocabulary of influences.

“Django Reinhardt is the showerhead from which we all come down,” says guitarist and bandleader Evan Perri. “But if he had lived, I don’t think he would’ve been playing the same things he had in prior years. He was constantly evolving as a jazz musician.”

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G. Science – Smooth Jazz Collection

G. Science aka Gabriel Saientz, a pianist and composer from Argentina, found his new home in Miami. He graduated cum Laude at the University of Miami with a bachelor in studio music and jazz performance. He has played around the states with artists like Nestor Torres, Steve Rucker, Matt Benelli and many more. He signed a contract with Muzak, The Weather Channel Essential Music.

Smooth Jazz Collection is a compilation of songs featured on the Weather Channel and many other background music venues. These songs showcase top Miami musicians and a variety of colorful rhythms and flavors for your listening pleasure. If you are a smooth jazz lover you are up for a treat.

These smooth jazz tunes are available as Smooth Jazz Collections I and II at CDBaby.

Neighbourhood – Maybe Tomorrow

Hailing from Sweden the group Neighbourhood is ready for take off. Members of the group are Kristian Persson (trombone & compositions), Jens Filipsson (saxophones & flute), Jonne Bentlöv (trumpet). Edvin Nahlin (keyboards), Aleks Brdarski (bass), and Sebastian Ågren (drums).

The band was founded by Kristian Persson in the autumn of 2008. He also composed all tracks of the debut album Maybe Tomorrow, which was recorded during the autumn of 2009 in Gävle and Stockholm and is now distributed by Stockholm Jazz Records.

Influenced by the music of the 70’s the group presents a personal style beyond the contemporary music streams. The group underlines their Attitude with the introducing track. Listen to the great horn arrangement comparable with groups like Tower of Power or Chicago. Kristian’s trombone has a signature sound and his solo is excellent. The Hammond B3 delivers additional groove and a fantastic retro feeling.

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Ranee Lee – Lives Upstairs

It’s been a rather amazing journey for Ranee Lee, who for several decades has reigned virtually unchallenged as the Queen of Canada’s jazz divas. Ms. Lee recently won the coveted Juno Award for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year (beating out Diana Krall, Emilie-Claire Barlow and Carol Welsman) for Lives Upstairs, her new release for Justin Time, Canada’s leading jazz label. “That recognition really does give you the seal of approval,” says Ranee, who has recorded many albums for the Montreal label. She has won and been nominated for many awards for both her singing and teaching; she’s played at every major jazz festival in North America and the world; she’s shared the stage and the microphone with hundreds of the great players of our time.

(What isn’t quite as well known is that Ms. Lee is a native New Yorker – born and raised in Brooklyn, as a matter of fact. “I think that everybody grew up in Brooklyn,” she says. “Every time I meet someone from the states they’ve either lived there or are still there – it’s like the center of the universe or something!”)

Ms. Lee’s first album, Live At “Le Bijou” was taped at that club in Old Montreal in 1983, but, unbelievably, she has not recorded a live album since. Lives Upstairs brings her back full circle and celebrates ten albums and nearly 30 years. (Ms. Lee informs us that the album is pronounced “Lives” in the sense of “Bird Lives” and not in the sense of “Private Lives.”) Both the title and the album cover are a play on Upstairs, the name of Canada’s most venerated jazz club, which is ironic since the performance space is famously located in a basement in Montreal.

The considerations of performing before a live audience and that of making an album are not always consistent with each other; however, Ms. Lee is more than sagacious enough to reconcile the two and find their common ground. “Every recording I’ve made comes out of the repertory that I enjoy singing most,” she says. “Most of it is traditional, songs that I’ve learned, in some cases almost by osmosis. Through the years I’ve developed a wider repertoire.” She notes that she learned both Jimmy McHugh’s “I Just Found Out About Love” and Johnny Mandel’s “A Time for Love” from Shirley Horn. The first is a fast-moving show tune (from the unsuccessful Strip For Action) that Horn actually learned from Nat King Cole and which opens the proceedings here with a definite bang, and “A Time for Love” is one of the most intensely romantic performances on the set. Continue reading

Gregg Holsey – Can’t Stop

Gregg Holsey is a bassist, singer, songwriter, and producer. He began playing bass at an early age. By the time he was 18 he had played with many of Detroit’s local recording’s groups. Gregg has spent half of his life traveling playing music. He has toured Canada and the United States and Asia. For the last 15 years he was living in Japan working and touring with Japanese artists.

He also had the opportunity of playing for the king of Thailand and doing 6 song’s on his CD. He is also a great sax player. From there he moved to Malaysia were he co-produced a CD for Malaysia’s number 1 singing group 4you2see. He also did commercials there for Northwestern Airlines. Gregg moved back to the states, were he relocated in Sacramental California. That’s were he met guitarist rock blues singer Mark Lamountain.

From there he moved back to his hometown of Detroit, where he put his R&B and smooth jazz CD together entitled Music For The Soul. Gregg  founded his label  called Komaki Records, and has another CD out on the net with the title Can’t Stop. Gregg also put together a tight 8 piece band with some of the hottest musician in the Detroit Area. Watch out for Gregg Holsey and Friends

Brian Hughes – Live

Los Angeles resident Brian Hughes has carved out an impressive career in the contemporary jazz arena. His first two albums, Between Dusk and Dreaming and Under One Sky, firmly established him as one of the foremost guitarists and composers in the genre, perfectly blending his fluid and emotive guitar style into an exciting, melodic mix of Latin, Jazz and World Music compositions.

After being picked as a winner in JAZZIZ Magazine’s “Guitars On Fire” competition his subsequent recordings Straight To You, One 2 One, Shakin’ Not Stirred, Along the Way and Live have received critical acclaim and major radio air play from coast to coast. With his sizzling fret work and infectious compositions the media are accurate in saying: “Both a great artist and an accessible one. His passion is so obvious, intense and contagious, that his audience shares it.”

Brian has received the SOCAN/BMI “Jazz & Instrumental Composer of the Year” award seven times from 1997 to 2009 and the title track from “Shakin’ Not Stirred” was featured on an episode of HBO’s “Sex and the City”.

All these albums are now available at CDBaby.